An Anglican priest arrested Sunday in California and charged sexual misconduct once served as a Roman Catholic priest in the Yakima Diocese.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office charged Jesus Antonio Castañeda Serna, 51, with multiple counts of sexual misconduct against three parishioners. Authorities say there may be hundreds of additional victims.
Serna was a priest in the Yakima Diocese in 1997, but was suspended in 2005 amid allegations that he had revealed information he received in the confessional, said Monsignor Robert Siler, spokesman for the diocese.
While the diocese was investigating that and seeking direction from the Vatican, Castañeda Serna asked to withdraw from the priesthood, Siler said — a request granted in 2007.
The diocese notified regional parishes that Castañeda Serna might attempt to pass himself off as a priest, Siler said.
A year later, the diocese attempted to look into an allegation that Castañeda Serna had engaged in sexual misconduct with an adult while a priest, but Siler said Serna did not cooperate with the diocese’s investigator. That allegation was passed on to Castañeda Serna’s Anglican diocese, Siler said.
Siler said the Yakima Diocese has put Fresno investigators in touch with the man who made the allegation.